tampabay.com

Meyer will consider new kicker

By ANTONYA ENGLISH
Published October 29, 2006


JACKSONVILLE - Despite a dismal season for Chris Hetland, coach Urban Meyer has been a solid supporter of the senior kicker.

But after Hetland missed two field goals against Georgia on Saturday, Meyer said it might be time to try someone else.

"I think so," Meyer said when asked if it's time to give up on Hetland. "I don't want to, but I think it's time."

Hetland was a preseason second-team All-SEC selection and was 13-of-16 on field goals last season. But he is 1-of-7 this season after missing from 39 and 42 yards on Saturday. Meyer said he hits the ball well in practice from both hash marks and his teammates support him.

"I think it's now in his head, and that's a bad thing to have happen," Meyer said. "But he has not been beat out, though. If he was beat out in practice, we'd have another kicker.

"My choices are (Eric) Nappy, and that's it."

NOT AGAIN: If freshman kick returner Brandon James decides to take his ball and go home, it would be hard to blame him. For the second time this season, James had a touchdown called back because of a teammate's block in the back.

Saturday, James returned a punt 66 yards 1:08 into the second quarter, but Nick Brooks was called for the penalty. Instead, James was credited with a 4-yard return.

He later sprained his ankle, and his status was unknown Saturday night.

FLAGS, FLAGS EVERYWHERE: Florida is the most penalized team in the SEC. The Gators picked up another 10 for 75 yards, prompting Meyer to declare it a critical problem that has to be fixed.

"We either have to start making changes with guys on penalties, or I don't know," he said. "We used to be a team that never was penalized and never dropped the ball. We have to really address it. Some of the penalties are just crushing. It says we were 10-for-75, but with the one that cost us the touchdown, it was really 10-for-150.

"There are effort penalties, and those are part of the game. If they are effort penalties, we've got to get a change. We can't have those."

THE '904': It's not quite like The O.C., but Meyer decided to make three of his Jacksonville players captains on Saturday: seniors Marcus Thomas, Reggie Lewis and Kenneth Tookes.

"904 is the area code in Jacksonville, in case you didn't know," Meyer quipped. "So we had three of our Jacksonville boys as the main captains."

Asked if he was sending a bad message by letting Thomas be a captain (he was suspended three games for failing a drug test), Meyer said no.

"I think he's served his deal and he's getting the problem fixed," Meyer said.

ON A ROLL: With his interception of Chris Leak with 6:57 remaining in the third quarter, Georgia linebacker Tony Taylor picked up his third in three weeks.

Taylor has four interceptions on the season. He also has the distinction of being the player to grab Leak's first career interception.

Saturday's interception led to a 52-yard, five-play touchdown drive for the Bulldogs.